Sunday 28 November 2021

New varieties coming to the Planty Garden in 2022

We - together with other Planty Gardeners - tried out 6 different kinds of seeds in 2021. Which ones will be in the shop and app next year and which ones didn't make the cut?
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The test seeds of 2021
Here they all are:
  • Striped stuffer tomato
  • Padron pepper
  • long-stemmed French breakfast radishes
  • flat-leaved parsley
  • Red Russian kale
  • a new marigold variety
This spring we offered them in a test packet so Planty Gardeners could test them out along with us. We all started sowing in March 2021.
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Test packet with new seeds

Testing, testing, and more testing

We got a lot of updates about how each plant variety grew, whether they tasted good or great, and got answers to our #1 question: should we add them to the app or not?

We also tested them ourselves. We took notes on their growth and tracked their progress. Combined with the information we got from you, we created some pretty impressive graphs, full of data for the app.

Now it's the end of the season and time for the results. Which plants passed the test, and which didn't? I'll start with the no-gos.

Which ones didn't make the cut?

Red Russian kale

Few testers were enthusiastic about the Red Russian kale. For a lot of growers, the seeds didn't sprout at all.

If they did come up, it was tough to find recipes people enjoyed. I myself only liked it in wok recipes.

Plus, it seemed like the caterpillars enjoyed them more than anyone else. But we expected that since caterpillars love brassica plants.
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Red Russian kale: it does look nice though, doesn't it

Striped Stuffer tomatoes

I was really excited about the beefy Striped Stuffer tomatoes at first. When they get big and ripe, they're stunners.

Unfortunately, 2021 wasn't a great year for tomatoes. Many Planty testers didn't get any ripe striped stuffers at all. The tomatoes that did manage to ripen didn't taste as delicious as we'd hoped.

So, these guys didn't make the cut.
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Striped stuffer tomatoes look nice, but weren't super successful

Padron pepper

The Padron pepper did pretty well when grown in an MM-Mini and kept in a sheltered spot. Some Planty Gardeners had a nice harvest, despite the cooler summer weather.

The peppers had a much sharper taste than we'd promised though 😉

And the peppers didn't do all that well in a garden box. In our greenhouse, it went okay, but outside the plants didn't grow much. Plus, it took a long time before you could harvest anything.

So, they didn't quite fit in with the other winners: they're not all that suitable for our climate, they stay too long in your garden box, and in the end, it's a lot of effort for little harvest. Not the Planty way 🙂
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Padron peppers have a sharper taste than we would've liked

The winners 🥳

But where there are losers, there are winners too.

French radishes

Coming in at #1 this year is the French radish.

The radishes grow really easily - even faster than our giant radishes - and they taste great.

Plus, just look at them. They're gorgeous:
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French breakfast radishes in all their glory

Marigold

The new marigolds come in a strong second. This variety attracts tons of bees thanks to its single flowers. It's a great companion plant for your vegetables. Plus, it keeps on blooming well into fall.

Even now, they still add color to the garden. But that won't last too much longer.
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The last marigolds at the end of November

Flat-leaved parsley

In third place is the parsley.

We had some doubts about that one. Why? Well, it struggled to come up for some testers.

But the plants that did come up more than made up for it. They may grow slowly at first, but they'll eventually transform into strong plants that you can harvest from for a long time.

The taste is also stronger and tastier than ordinary parsley, ideal for cooking. So, we'll include it in the app too.
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Flat-leaved parsley

What's next?

Now, we really get started. First, we'll convert all the collected data into bite-sized chunks for the app:
  • when to start
  • how and where to sow
  • how long it will take to complete each step
  • what exactly can go wrong and what can you do then
  • does the plant need anything extra
  • when can you harvest
Once that's all done, Robbin gets to work on the illustrations: he's already made a few, but he'll be busy making illustrations for every level and every step:
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Illustration of the new marigold in all its life stages
After that, we'll put everything in the app: each step, with the right data, and in the right place.

But that's not all.

New seed bags

We want you to be able to order the seeds too. To get that set up, here's what our to-do list looks like:
  • request barcode designs for the baggies
  • have the bags printed and filled
  • bundle the bags into seed packs
  • get the supply to the shipping house
  • add them the shop
Oh: and as quickly as possible, so everything's ready in time for the new season.

Pfff.

So, just adding a few more varieties to the mix?

It's not nearly as easy as it seems.

That's why we are thrilled to get so much help from the Planty Gardeners out there. Testing, sharing the results, and sending us photos of the different phases.

So, if you tested the seeds this past year: thank you very much 😀
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PS: Our goal is to include these new seeds in the shop around January, along with the freshly filled bags of all our other varieties. They'll be in the app before you can sow them 😉

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